Todd C. Ouellette Sr.

Todd C. Ouellette Sr.

NEW YORK, NY – Todd C. Ouellette Sr., dealer and owner of Long-Lewis Ford Lincoln of the Shoals in Muscle Shoals, was recently nominated for the 2022 TIME Dealer of the Year award.  Ouellette is one of 47 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 105th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Las Vegas on March 11, 2022.

The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly-coveted honors. Recipients are among the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Ouellette was chosen to represent the Automobile Dealers Association of Alabama in the national competition for the 53rd annual award from more than 16,000 dealers nationwide.

“I knew early on that the auto industry was my path to success,” Ouellette said. “I decided that I wanted to be a dealer and set a goal to do so before I turned 30.  However, I missed that target by just over a year.” 

A 1983 graduate of George C. Wallace State Community College in Selma (now Wallace Community College Selma), Ouellette was hired as a sales consultant for Long-Lewis, a Ford dealer in Bessemer, at the age of 19. 

“I spent two years in the sales position before being promoted to finance manager at age 21,” he said. “I advanced through the dealership and was named general sales manager, the youngest manager in the near 100-year history of Long-Lewis.”

The owner of Long-Lewis, Vaughn Burrell, saw potential in Ouellette and became his mentor and trusted advisor. 

“From my first day in the automotive business, I had immense respect for Vaughn Burrell,” he said. “He carried himself so professionally, he had strong Christian values and he was a philanthropist.  He was what I wanted to become.”

After Ouellette put together a five-year plan for Burrell, Burrell sent him to the NADA Academy to learn dealer operations. In 1996 the two became partners in the store in Muscle Shoals. Ouellette bought out Burrell in five years to become the sole owner of Long-Lewis Ford of the Shoals and today. He has expanded the Long-Lewis brand by acquiring stores in Alabama and Mississippi, selling Ford, Honda, Lincoln, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen vehicles.

“By far, the most significant and emotional acquisition took place in July of 2020 when Mr. Burrell and his family agreed to sell me the Long-Lewis Ford Lincoln dealership where my career began,” he said.

Today, Ouellette honors Burrell by encouraging and sponsoring several of his employees to attend the NADA Academy, including his son who is also part of the family enterprise. 

The retail automotive business has made it possible for Ouellette and his family to form the Long-Lewis Foundation, his most rewarding achievement, which provides aid to the community and supports evangelistic causes. “Since my family established the foundation in 2013, it has given millions of dollars to individuals in need, other nonprofits, and has sponsored mission trips to places all around the world,” said Ouellette.

The foundation provides funds for Long-Lewis employees to buy Christmas gifts for children through The Salvation Army Angel Tree program. In addition, the foundation supplies the food that employees assemble into Thanksgiving gift baskets for delivery to elderly neighbors and families who need a boost during the holidays. “To date, our team has shopped for and delivered baskets to more than 10,000 families in our communities,”

Ouellette said. “In addition, we recognize and reward those employees who volunteer their time to local nonprofits.”

He is currently on the boards of the Long-Lewis Foundation; Northwest Alabama Fellowship of Christian Athletes; The Salvation Army of the Shoals; and the Rescue Me Project (youth mentoring program). He also served on the board of trustees for the University of North Alabama in Florence from 2015 to 2020.

“Making a difference has been so much more rewarding than making a living,” Ouellette said.